The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 12, 2017 • Issue 17:06:01
Language, a salesperson's best friend
As a merchant level salesperson or ISO owner in the payments biz, you most likely have created a presentation that works reasonably well for you. Knowing that flexibility is essential, you probably vary it according to the merchant prospect or vertical you're targeting, too. But how much thought do you give to the vocabulary you use? Do you vary your words to suit your merchants?
In Good Selling!SM: The Basics, Paul H. Green said, "A great salesperson speaks to accounts in their own language. … Using your prospect's lingo is the most efficient way to establish rapport with many different groups of people. We identify with people who share things with us. We instinctively feel less fear and more trust in them."
Green offered the following examples of distinct terminology used by professionals in the same position but in different industries:
- When talking to the controller of an auto dealership, you would refer to the position responsible for securing financing for consumers and completing the paperwork for the sale as the "F&I person."
- When talking to the controller of a hotel, you would call the detail of the hotel charges "the folio."
If you serve multiple verticals, or even merchants in the same vertical but in locales with significantly different cultural influences, using the right lingo can be challenging. Green suggested reading trade magazines and making notes of new words and viewpoints. "Pay close attention to the editorials and letters to the editors," he wrote. "They will provide you with authentic viewpoints of people involved with that special interest."
In addition to online and print trade magazines, blogs, videos and social media posts are excellent resources when seeking to learn how people in a particular industry communicate. Glossaries for many verticals are also published online.
When stepping into international waters, where prospects' primary language is not English, the communication obstacles are often overwhelming. Many payment professionals wisely choose to partner with people or companies that know the local languages and customs of foreign markets they are entering. This doesn't mean, however, that it makes sense to dispense with learning as much as possible about the language, customs and challenges in regions you're targeting. It's astonishing to see how much good will you can generate just by making a sincere effort to communicate in a prospect's mother tongue.
Another aspect of language to keep in mind no matter what market you're in is to focus on clarity and leave your payments jargon at the door. In "Revisit that elevator speech," The Green Sheet, Feb. 9, 2009, issue 09:02:01, Biff Matthews wrote, "Use only layman's language. Avoid industry-specific terms and alphabet soup. Forcing your listener to guess what you're saying because you've used jargon and acronyms is counterproductive. Craft your speech so that, whether your listener is a professor or a janitor, your meaning is clear."
Language is a marvelous tool; brush up and use it to the fullest.
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